The Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) welcomes the publication of the Western & Central Pacific tuna factsheet by the MSC today. The GTA strongly urges the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to accelerate action to develop comprehensive, harvest strategies across all tuna stocks to minimize the risk of stock declining to undesirable levels.
In addition to adhering to best practices of modern fisheries management, harvest strategies are an essential component of the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative’s (GSSI) benchmarking tool. GTA Partners are committed to increasing their sourcing from tuna fisheries certified by schemes that are internationally recognized by the GSSI.
Tom Pickerell, Executive Director of the GTA, said: “As noted in the MSC factsheet, there are 22 GSSI-recognised MSC certified tuna fisheries in the region, as well as an additional 5 currently seeking MSC certification, representing over two million tonnes of certified – or possibly certified – tuna within the supply chain each year. These fisheries are hugely important to companies with sustainable seafood commitments and the loss of them could have significant market consequences.”
These certifications are at high risk of suspension from the program by their independent assessors in if the WCPFC is unable to complete its work plans related to harvest strategies and harvest control rules by December 2022. Accordingly, the GTA is calling for the WCPFC to accelerate action to develop comprehensive harvest strategies across all tuna stocks as stated in their own work plans. Specifically, in 2021:
- Adopt Target Reference Points for bigeye and yellowfin
- Adopt a list of candidate management procedures for skipjack & albacore
- Establish a scientist/manager dialogue group and agree to hold its first meeting in 2022